British and Irish Governments must fulfil obligations - McLellan
Speaking in the Dáil tonight during a private members bill on the fifteenth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Féin TD for Cork East, Sandra McLellan said:
“On this the 15th anniversary of the Agreement there can be little doubt but that Equality legislation, the Equality Commission and Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act have in the intervening years done a lot to end the discrimination that was in many respects the driving force behind the origins conflict.
“However, to date, the people of the north of Ireland are still waiting for the much promised Bill of Rights.
“This is particularly worrying when one considers recent figures which show a startling increase in deprivation and child poverty in large urban areas across the north.
“Indeed this is a time, when both the British and Irish governments should be actively defending the agreement, and not blocking or introducing measures that work against both the aspirations and spirit of the GFA.
“The UK government’s plan for welfare reform is a prime example of policy measures that will have a disproportionate effect on the most vulnerable in the north.
“Sinn Féin welcomes the fact that the Agreement has essentially brought peace to the island of Ireland.”
"However we would call on both the Irish and British governments to fulfil their obligations under the agreement and we urge them not to introduce measures that push people who are already struggling further into poverty.
"Thus while Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act is a crucial building block in ensuring justice and fairness, nonetheless a society that aspires to any notion of equality must have at its very core real and meaningful policies that deliver economic justice to all of its people."